Editorial Review

Navy Federal Flagship Rewards Review: Rich Travel Perks, Low Cost

The card offers high ongoing rewards and generous benefits for a modest annual fee, but you must be eligible to join the credit union to get it.

Robin Saks FrankelMarch 27, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

THIS PAGE MAY BE OUT OF DATE

This page includes information about one or more products not currently available on NerdWallet:

  • Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

As a result, offers described on this page may be out of date. See our NerdWallet’s Best Credit Cards page for updated offers.

Our Take

4.6

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: The card packs a lot of value for a comparatively low cost, but if you're opposed to an annual fee or joining a credit union, you have other options.

Navy Federal Credit Union Flagship Rewards Credit Card

Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card

Annual Fee

$49

Regular APR

11.49% - 18.00%, Variable

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Annual Fee
$49
Annual Fee
$49
Intro APR
N/A

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • High rewards rate

  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • Has annual fee

Alternate Pick: Rich rewards with no annual fee

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Flexible rewards

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer earns a net 2% cash back on all spending: 1% when you buy and another 1% when you pay your bill. Cash is the most flexible reward of all, letting you spend your earnings on travel or anything else you like. The annual fee for this card is $0.

Read our review

Get more smart money moves — straight to your inbox

Become a NerdWallet member, and we’ll send you tailored articles we think you’ll love.

Full Review

When it comes to travel credit cards, you typically get what you pay for. But the Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card bucks that trend, offering far more than many other cards at similar price points.

The card has a modest annual fee, but in exchange you'll earn high ongoing rewards, not to mention a fat sign-up bonus that easily outstrips the cost of card ownership, plus plenty of travel-friendly side perks.

There are a couple of potential stumbling blocks. You have to join the Navy Federal Credit Union to apply, which may be a problem if you don't meet the eligibility criteria or just don't want the extra legwork. And while earning rewards with the card is easy, redeeming them requires jumping through a few hoops.

Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card: Basics and benefits

Card type: Travel.

Annual fee: $49.

Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points (a $500 value) when you spend $4,000 within 90 days of account opening.

Rewards: 

  • 3X points on travel purchases.

  • 2X points on everything else.

Points are worth one cent each and can be redeemed for things like travel, cash back, gift cards or merchandise.

APR: The ongoing APR is 11.49% - 18.00%, Variable.

Foreign transaction fee: None.

Other benefits: 

  • Statement credit for Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fees, up to $100 once every four years.

  • Cell phone protection for up to three cell phones when you pay your bill with the Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card.

  • Extended warranty service.

  • Secondary collision damage waiver coverage when you rent a car for 15 days or less and pay for the rental with your card.

  • Travel and emergency assistance, travel accident insurance.

  • Visa Signature benefits including discounts and perks on travel.

Why you might want the Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card

Big ongoing rewards

The Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card underwent a substantial rewards makeover in 2018. Aside from earning triple rewards on travel purchases, the card also pays a higher-than-average 2X rewards on all other spending. That's an outstanding ongoing rate, considering the gold standard for many flat-rate rewards cards is 1.5%. Navy Federal also broadly defines travel to include things like hotel stays, airfare, train tickets, rideshare services, parking expenses, commuter transportation, amusement parks and golf courses.

Generous sign-up offer

The card comes with a compelling sign-up offer: Earn 50,000 bonus points (a $500 value) when you spend $4,000 within 90 days of account opening. Points are worth a penny a piece, so the bonus alone can cover the cost of the annual fee for a long time.

Solid travel Perks

The Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card is one of several travel cards that offer a statement for Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fees. But it's also among the least expensive of those kinds of cards, in terms of annual fees. You'll also get travel-friendly benefits like secondary rental car insurance coverage, travel accident insurance, emergency assistance and more.

Why you might want a different card

There's an annual fee

It's comparatively modest: $49. But you might find the idea of paying anything for card ownership unpalatable. Depending on your spending patterns, you may do just as well with the no-annual-fee Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card, which pays triple points for travel as well as on things like dining out, ordering in, gas stations, rideshares and transit. All non-bonus-category spending earns 1 point per $1. Terms apply.

Credit union membership is required

If you're not a current or former member of the military or a Department of Defense employee, or if you don't have the required family connections, you can't get this card. And even if you do meet the qualification criteria, you may find it cumbersome to join the credit union first just to apply for a credit card. You could instead consider the fuss-free Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer. It doesn't come with all the bells and whistles of the Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card but you'll earn a net 2% cash back on all of your spending: 1% when you buy and another 1% when you pay the bill. Taking straight cash back is the most flexible rewards choice of them all, freeing you to use your money any way you like. There's also no cost to own the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, since it comes without an annual fee.

You want more flexibility in booking your travel

If you want to book a flight, hotel, cruise or a vacation package, you have to make your plans through Navy Federal's Rewards Service Center, which could be limiting. If you want to book your travel restriction-free, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is one of the most flexible options out there. Points are redeemed as statement credits for your travel purchases so you can book your plans any way you please. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card earns 2 miles on every purchase, and a mile is worth $0.01 when redeemed for travel. The annual fee is $0 intro for the first year, then $95.

For a look at how these cards compare vs. the competition, see NerdWallet's roundup of the best credit cards to get.

Is the Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card right for you?

The stellar rewards rates, generous sign-up bonus and travel perks make the Navy Federal Credit Union® Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Credit Card a steal for the price.

But if you're not interested in paying an annual fee or joining a credit union and you'd like a little more redemption flexibility, consider a no-annual-fee travel card.

Comments

NerdWallet reviews are the result of independent research by our editorial team while cardholder reviews are contributions from independent users not affiliated with NerdWallet. Banks, issuers and credit card companies are not responsible for any content posted on the NerdWallet site, nor do they endorse or guarantee any posted comments or reviews.

Write a review

Read Our Posting Guidelines
user avatar
Overall Rating:
Select your rating
undefined reviews

Some of the reviews on the NerdWallet site were purchased through a third party provider. Users who post a review directly on the NerdWallet site will not be compensated in any way. Please see our Terms of Use and Posting Guidelines for more information.